The Creative Act Summary

A book by Rick Rubin

Each Person is a Creator

People are creative by nature. Even when they are not curating art, they are still curating their life experiences, which create art. People are innovative individuals, and the world is a form of art.

Tuning inward

Everything gives off energy, and people are channels of power.

Every accomplishment is a unique personal expression, and there is a time for everything. A new idea emerges through a ready channel when it is ready to take root in the world. Many artists develop a sensitivity to protect themselves, which they use to harness moment energy and create art.

My feedback: I often turn inward and take the day slowly to become more creative with my writing and to reflect on abstract ideas.

Creativity’s Source

Creativity comes from the Source, and the Source is within us. Thought comes from the unconscious, and the Source is like a cloud that changes but never truly disappears. A work exists as an idea and in the imagination.


Awareness is around us. Awareness means being present to and accepting of the now. People can widen their ability to notice things or become closed off even if unsure of what they see. Perceptions change as people zoom in and out while viewing something. The universe expands when awareness is cultivated.

About Vessels and Filters

Each person is a vessel full of experiences, feelings, and information. The world is so full of sights and sounds that the mind can’t process it all simultaneously. Having unfiltered information move freely through someone without judgment or seeking something out creates a stronger connection to the Source than interpreting the data.

A person can be trained to obtain more from Source by being more connected and unfiltered. You are the instrument.

About the unseen

Art is a gateway into the invisible world. Unlike logic, the spiritual world is infinite and has no dead ends. Everyone is part of a world with possibilities, and faith lets people move in a direction without understanding it.

My feedback: I agree with the author that faith allows people to start creative project which they’re inspired by but don’t necessarily know how to put together and it lets people take leaps of faith a when a change is very much needed in their lives.

About Looking for Clues

Open a book and find what catches your eye. What does a random sentence in a book convey about your life situation? An artist can find signals and meanings everywhere, but it can be challenging to decode them.


Practice embodies an approach to a concept. When people choose to live with the seasons, they see themselves as part of a whole and have rituals during a particular week or time. Awareness needs to be reinvented until it becomes a practice. Artists have a way of being in their world.


Submerge yourself in the great works of all art genres.

Nature as a teacher

Nature is the most enduring work and is filled with awe. One doesn’t need to understand nature to appreciate it; one can move closer to one’s nature by communicating with it. When the spirit is served, the creative output is served, too.

Nothing is static

The world is constantly changing. Things we view or read again seem new. We also change and evolve.

Looking Inside

Life isn’t necessarily external. Notice the patterns and sensations inside you.

Memories + Subconscious

Sometimes, work emerges from inside your subconscious. This is how to access something beyond oneself- through the subconscious. Set the intention to remember your dreams before you sleep. Randomness has an order that we might not comprehend.

It’s always there

The sun is always there, even on gloomy days. The information is out there, but we can miss it; awareness changes daily.


Isolated locations are good for getting transmissions from the Source. Being surrounded by people or in a busy place can help one absorb the collective consciousness. Look at art entertainers and social media and don’t follow any direction; be like the wind and observe it.

My feedback: I’ve had some of my most creative ideas in quiet and isolated spaces such as when I wrote a poem once as I was driving through the dessert. Working in a busy place with people walking buy may also help you be creative as long as you don’t get too distracted and keep creating your art.

Self- doubt

Everybody has self-doubt. Everyone is different and not perfect. Art is a partial representation of you. Many artists dislike listening to or looking at their art. Creating art is a privilege. Artists feel big feelings, which can feel isolated if others don’t feel them.

Make it up

Each project is a stepping stone to the next project and is imperfect. Focus on the process rather than perfection, so set the bar low—label insecurities to overcome them. The urge to create should be more significant than your fear.


A mantra is a type of distraction, and distractions are sometimes good for creativity. During distractions, one part of the mind is busy, and another is free to create. Disengagement is an excellent way to engage at times.


Works are always an interpretation. The worker and artist wear different hats and collaborate. People have different awakenings while viewing the same work, and it brings out various aspects of a person.


All our thoughts, processes, feelings, and beliefs create energy in the artistic work. Our work is made up of intention, and there is only one in a job. Our work has a higher purpose since, as artists, we are conduits of the universe.


Rules are limitations, and for artists, they are assumptions and destined to be tested. Most rules don’t apply since the point of art is not to fit in. Develop and cherish your voice and share something new inside of you. Art is a type of confrontation. Have as few rules as possible. The best works of art come from artists who either never learned the rules or those who knew them so well that they can masterfully bend them.

The Opposite is True

Challenge one’s assumptions and ways of working. The opposite of something might be more enjoyable.


People listen with their entire bodies, and loudspeakers bring people closer to sound. Communication is a two-way street; people talk differently when fully present. Creating an opinion, thinking of a response, attacking, or defending are not forms of listening.


Life doesn’t have shortcuts. People take shortcuts without realizing it. Rereading something can lead to a new understanding. People often don’t participate fully with their entire selves when they are trying to be efficient. Repetition and patience lead to insight. Impatience is like arguing with the reality of a situation.

Beginner’s Mind

Approaching tasks with ignorance can empower one to take on a challenge. Innovation can come from ignorance, too. Animals don’t have difficulty making decisions because they act out of instinct. Being playful, honest, free from the fear of consequences, and living in the moment are connected to pure authenticity. Children have no preconceived notions of the world.

My feedback: I try to have a beginner’s mindset as often as possible so I can solve problems in new ways or look at things from a new perspective and I don’t assume I know everything. There is always something new to learn even about a topic you know well.


Inspiration is fuel for one’s work. The mind needs space to welcome new things. When the mind is quieted, it leads to inspiration or the likelihood of getting inspired. Inspiration can’t be relied upon, and we need to be in control. Epiphanies can happen in regular moments. Awe is a sign of inspiration.


Great habits lead to sound art. How you do one thing is how you do everything in life. It’s good to schedule in joyful play to get a break. Have sustainable habits with time where you work best so you can commit to it and not feel like it’s a grind. Abandoning a project, limiting beliefs, or needing to start over are bad habits. Not finishing, having so many ideas that you need help figuring out where to start, or blaming others for getting in the way are also unfruitful.

My feedback: I think it’s best to work with inspiration when you feel it but also develop a habit of writing consistently, even if it’s just for a few minutes each day. If you have a hard time thinking about when project to start or where to begin, feel into which ideas has the highest energy for you or feels most exciting.


The seed phase is a starting phase for gathering inspiration or materials. Getting seeds takes little work, but collecting seeds needs to be done with curiosity. The right seeds will reveal themselves with time, so don’t dismiss or rush into them. The more seeds you have, the more you can assess and find the right one. Sometimes, seeds move us in a new direction.


This phase allows seeds to take root and look for life. There isn’t a correct way to experiment. Many have missed the revelations in front of their face. Seeds need to make their way toward the sun, and all seeds grow, but there is timing to each one. Sometimes, you may need clarification on a project after making it halfway through. One knows that when an idea is thriving, there is excitement or wanting more.

Try Everything

Proven solutions only sometimes work. A brilliant idea might turn out bad in real life, but a boring idea might take root, so one must test ideas. It’s not possible to know what others imagine and if their ideas may work. If the work takes a different direction with a stronger charge, follow that direction.

Point of View

A point of view is not the same thing as a point. A point of view is perspective. What’s inside of you when you get squeezed?

Breaking the Sameness

Changing the environment can help change one’s performance. The inner environment can also help create change by raising the stakes of a performance. Changing the perspective of a performance also helps break up the sameness.


Sometimes, one realizes there’s more to do when bringing a work to completion. Sometimes, it’s good to step away from a work before completing it so you can see it in a new light. You have to love the work since it’s yours, and if everyone likes it, it’s probably not complete yet.

The Abundant Mindset

The river will never be dry. People focus on what they get. The universe always inspires us, and we live in a world of abundance. Your golden period isn’t over if you don’t believe that, and you can choose to do your best each day.

Experimenters and Finishers

Each type of artist can learn from the other. One can learn how to complete a task, and another can learn to experiment.

Temporary Rules

Artists can create new rules each time they play. Pick the parameters that push you a bit out of your comfort zone by choosing new limits or mediums of creation so you can experiment with something new.


The best metric of creative work is how well you like your work.


Success comes from the soul. It comes from doing your best to bring out the potential of a work. We must do our best work and listen to the knowing inside us.

Connected Detachment

Experience dramatic life events like a loss as if you’re watching a movie. Imagine your next scene and say you didn’t expect your plot twist. Hard times allow new possibilities to emerge, and life unfolds; darkness and light coexist. The more you zoom out on life’s events, the smaller they seem.

The Ecstatic

Ecstasy points people to their true north. Creating art requires people to get out of their heads. Many artist find, to their surprise, that the release of their work was a type of public confession. Finding the ecstatic and allowing it to guide you is amazing and significant.

My feedback: Yes, do follow your bliss but try to follow through on what you started, unless it leads you to a more significant or clearer direction.

Point of Reference

Revolutionary ideas don’t have a context; they create a new context. A strong reaction to something means there’s a lot of meaning there, and it’s good to explore it.


Competition has a lower vibration because comparing your work to others can inhibit joy. Everyone benefits from an upward spiral.

My feedback: You are you own niche. Once you understand your voice and what you can uniquely offer to the world, you will have no competition since no one has your exact life story or experiences.


Every art piece has something that makes up its essence, such as material, theme, or structure, to name a few. The nature of a piece can change over time. Try to make your point with the least amount of information. Perfection occurs when nothing else can be taken away.


Art happens naturally, and no one knows how the work came about. The explanations people have about their art are guesses. The reality isn’t known.

Tuning Out

Art is about self-expression and creativity. When creating, you should tune out the business decisions. It would be best if you also kept out outside voices. Your inner critic may come out and judge you as a failure. Many of these voices aren’t ours but have been internalized by others. Acknowledge voices, but don’t give energy to your distractions.


Kids aren’t taught to prioritize their feelings or understand them; obedience is expected instead. Self-awareness means being aware of inner thoughts and feelings. One must also be mindful of energetic changes in the body.

My feedback: Your self-awareness will allow you to be more productive and in flow with your rhythm and will also allow you to understand yourself more.

Right Before Our Eyes

When stuck, surrender can create openings. The answer is often in front of us. Weaknesses should be acknowledged, but one needs to see how to remove or improve them.

Whisper Out of Time

A year of the creative process may have been instigated by something overheard in a parking lot. Many look for a big sign before committing to an innovative path and throw away small, insignificant ideas. Still, size doesn’t matter because tiny seeds can grow into big trees. A relaxed mind can better hear creative whispers.

Expect a Surprise

People may grow used to expressing moments that are hard to explain. Invitation is a way to cultivate surprises. Tiny surprises can lead to others and might be topped by a big surprise, which is knowing how to trust oneself.

Great Expectations

Our expectations can sometimes feel heavy, but trusting the process is helpful. Art requires blind trust. People move forward in the dark even if they don’t know where they’re going.


Artists don’t like to stay safe and small because new information and inspiration may be blocked. Sameness can feel dull. Curiosity leads to open-mindedness. Some boundaries are false. If something goes in a different direction than expected, one can resist it or add it to one’s life. You might be led to a better solution.

Surrounding the Lightening Bolt

It’s good to focus on the space before and after lightening, and this space can be controlled. An epiphany helps people enter a new reality. Artists are craftspeople; some ideas come as lightning, while others come through craft or experimentation.

Staying in it

Artists have two jobs: to be and to do. They need balance. Staying in something means connecting to one’s surroundings and seeing what makes one feel going forward.


It doesn’t matter how long a work takes to create; it matters that it pleases us. Accidental art has as much value as hard work. Do the work.

How to Choose

Choice changes the outcome. How does one know which option is best for work? That depends on the relationship between things and their contrast. There are no criteria for whether the job is the best version possible. There is a purpose and implication to things.


Art is not about judgment. An artwork either speaks to someone or does not. A free world allows its artists to be free.

The Possessed

One doesn’t need to be broken to make art; art doesn’t necessarily break people. Art often allows people to speak the unspeakable and makes artists whole again.

What Works for You

Wisdom should be skillfully incorporated, and one should discover what matters to one. What you do daily or consistently matters, so apply what works and discard the rest.


Art is a type of decoding. It’s good to keep honing your art, studying, and researching. It’s best not to use too much theory because it can steal your voice.

Clean Slate

Viewing a work from a new perspective is hard if you have spent hundreds of hours working on it. One must go into something else and distract oneself or focus on something else to see one’s work as a viewer for the first time.


Play with different contexts by changing pace, speed, distance, brightness, perspective, curve, and size or placing the work next to unrelated objects.

The Energy

The work-energy moves us; it doesn’t come from us. It preoccupies the artist. Excitement tells the artist which work is worthy of devotion and attention. Energetic charges happen when people get immersed in their work.

Ending to Start Anew

Each end has a new start. Refresh yourself to start a new project and share your work for the start of many new works. Works must be started, completed, and shared with the world in a cycle.


Art is play, and artists want to be playful throughout their journey. Art is about commitment while also being free in the creation process. Art should be taken seriously but not delved into seriously. It should make one’s spirit roam free. Wait to put importance on a work.

The Art Habit

Don’t ask art to support you financially, though it is a reasonable goal. The art comes before the money, so think of another way to support yourself. Try to get a job at a place you love.

The Prism of Self

It’s hard or impossible to find the true self. There are many forms of being yourself or by yourself, and people constantly change inside based on hunger, fatigue, location, and community. People move through various aspects of themselves.


Everyone benefits from the best idea, whether it’s yours or not. A great decision comes from a mutual decision that may incorporate elements of a few works or none. Great ideas don’t come from sacrifice but from recognizing the best solution. Some collaborators aren’t an excellent match for each other if they’re very different.

The Sincerity Dilemma

Sincerity is elusive. It’s a byproduct of art, but not the point of it. Irrational parts of us are hidden away from us. Art is poetry.

The Gatekeeper

Ideas come through the editor version of you. The editing shows taste and makes a work curated. Critics doubt work, but editors are professionals. Add-backs should make a job better. Artists always have to ask how something can get better.

Why people make art

Art comes from the instinct that one follows. Others can see your point of view, which then gets refracted through another person. Life is for expression, and art is a universal message that survives time.


Nature is a point of beauty for humans. Significant works have the same geometry as nature. When elements merge and become one, they are in harmony. Discordance creates tension and release. Sometimes, works show dis-balance and unease.

What we tell ourselves

People need to learn what’s insignificant and what’s vital, and the meaning of their contributions needs to be determined. Art is where all ideas are united, like the prism, the universe, the selves, and the transmutation of ideas into a body. Faith is placed in the energy that artists are drawn to.

Overall, this book addresses art from many different lenses and perspectives and allows artists to be at their best and move forward boldly with their work.






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